Pasta for dinner doesn’t need to be a 1500 calorie endeavor (thanks for the nutrition facts, Olive Garden!) Here are my tricks to a healthy, delicious and affordable pasta dinner:
1) Add Veggies: Asparagus and tomatoes are a great way to add vitamins and fiber without adding a lot of extra calories to your meal. In other words, they fill you up without filling you out.
2) Buy Whole Wheat Pasta: You’ve heard it a million times so make this 1 million and one: whole wheat pasta contains added protein and fiber. Those two nutrients are the magic formula for filling up.
3) Use Less Meat: Since the pasta containts protein, you can use less meat. Added bonus? Save money.
4) Shop Seasonally: A great way to cut costs is to shop locally. Right now where I live, asparagus is in season and readily available at a great price. Kale, green beans or peas would work just as well.
Your fork is waiting.
- 8 oz whole wheat penne
- 1 medium onion - diced
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 3 links turkey Italian sausage - sweet or spicy
- 1 lb asparagus - cut in 2 in pieces
- 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes - diced
- Parmigiano reggiano - to serve
- Prepare pasta according to package instructions and reserve ½ c starchy cooking liquid. (Tip: Be sure to salt the water, this is your only opportunity to season the pasta.)
- In a large pot, saute onion over medium heat using non-stick cooking spray.
- Add a pinch of salt/pepper to flavor and release juices of the onion.
- After about 4 minutes, add garlic and cook additional 60 seconds.
- Remove sausage from casings and add directly into pan.
- (Tip: Use a potato masher to break down the meat.)
- Once sausage has browned, add asparagus and ½ c starchy cooking liquid. Put a lid on the pan and let steam 3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and heat until warmed through.
- Pour pasta back into the pot and heat.
- Serve with plenty of grated parmigiano reggiano.